Wednesday 29, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

Majority of consumers would stop doing business with companies following a data breach


Only 50 per cent of consumers in the Middle East feel businesses take customer data security very seriously, according to Data Breaches and Customer Loyalty 2017, by Gemalto.

Around 51 per cent of consumers in the Middle East would stop doing business with a company if it experienced a data breach, according to a survey of more than 10,000 consumers worldwide conducted on behalf of Gemalto, the world leader in digital security. In addition, 47 per cent feel businesses do not take the security of customer data very seriously. 

Despite these concerns, the Gemalto study found that consumers are failing to adequately secure themselves, with 64 per cent still using the same password for multiple online accounts. Even when businesses offer robust security solutions, such as two-factor authentication, 28 per cent of consumers admit to not using the technology to secure social media accounts, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches.

This may be because 61 per cent of consumers believe the business holding their data is mostly responsible for its security. This is resulting in businesses being forced to take additional steps to protect consumers and enforce robust security measures, as well as educate them on the benefits of adopting these. Retailers (65 per cent), banks (65 per cent) and social media sites (58 per cent) were found to have a lot of work to do, with these being sectors that consumers would leave if they suffered a breach.

“Consumers are evidently happy to relinquish the responsibility of protecting their data to a business, but are expecting it to be kept secure without any effort on their part. In the face of upcoming data regulations such as GDPR, it’s now up to businesses to ensure they are forcing security protocols on their customers to keep data secure. It’s no longer enough to offer these solutions as an option. These protocols must be mandatory from the start – otherwise businesses will face not only financial consequences, but also potentially legal action from consumers,” said Jason Hart, CTO, Identity and Data Protection at Gemalto.

Despite their behaviour, consumers’ security concerns are high, as 33 per cent worry they will be victims of a data breach in the near future. Consequently, consumers now hold businesses accountable–if their data is stolen, 43 per cent of consumers would take or consider taking legal action against the compromised business.

Consumers trust some industries more than others
When it comes to the businesses that consumers trust least, 68 per cent believe that social media sites are one of the biggest threats to their data, with 29 per cent fearful of travel sites.

On the other hand, 28 per cent of consumers trust banks the most with their personal data, despite them being frequent targets and victims of data breaches, with the government (23 per cent), device manufacturers (19 per cent) and industry certification bodies (nine per cent) next on the list.

“It’s astonishing that consumers are now putting their own data at risk, by failing to use these measures, despite growing concerns around their security. It’s resulting in an alarming amount of breaches–80 per cent–being caused by weak or previously stolen credentials. Something has to change soon on both the business and consumer sides or this is only going to get worse,” Hart added.


Features & Analyses

SME Finance A sincere form of flattery?

  When Stevi Lowmass of The Camel Soap Factory discovered her product was being copied and sold, she took a number of steps to… read more